Does your Malpractice Insurance cover these key events?

Amigo MGA Malpractice InsuranceIn addition to all the other costs of becoming a doctor, from the time in school to the ensuing debt, medical professionals also need to be concerned about malpractice insurance. Work on the human body can often go awry, since best practices change with some frequency, no two bodies are created equal, and doctors are people too. As such, doctors need to be covered in the event that a procedure goes wrong and the patient sues for damages caused. Even well-intentioned doctors make mistakes, so coverage is required by most practices and hospitals as a precautionary measure.

If you’re new to the medical field and need to purchase malpractice insurance, or if you haven’t reviewed your malpractice insurance policy in some time, a few seemingly-small aspects may slip through the cracks. Make sure you’re covered for the following instances.

Cyber Insurance: As we all remember too well from the recent cyber attacks against hospitals in the EU and other countries, the cybersecurity in healthcare facilities is often subpar, despite how vital it is to the wellbeing of the patients. Doctors today need to ensure that they’re covered in the event of a cybersecurity breach, data leakage, or malicious hostage situation.

Volunteer Insurance: Many doctors spend parts of their careers volunteering overseas to provide free or reduced-cost medical care to sick people in developing nations. Some malpractice insurance policies only cover work on American soil or within the walls of the doctor’s practice. If you plan to offer your services to those in need, make sure that you choose an insurance plan that covers you in case something goes wrong during a pro bono procedure.

Non-Medical Protection: As the healthcare industry is, in fact, a business, there will be some business-like liabilities you’ll need to protect yourself against. Take, for example, tax forms or insurance claims. In the event that you accidentally misfiled your income tax or made a mistake filing a Medicare claim, you’ll need some insurance to cover the costs of correcting the problem and all the red tape that will certainly ensue.
Overdose Insurance: The opioid epidemic is hitting crisis levels in some states, and as such, the likelihood of being sued for an over-prescription that lead to an addiction or death is climbing. As was made clear in the riveting work of investigative journalism American Pain by John Temple, the federal government now has a vested interest in prosecuting doctors and facilities it dubs “pill mills,” a term used to describe offices that dole out opioids with reckless abandon for a profit. With this in mind, ensure that your malpractice insurance will help you fight claims that your medical prescriptions were malicious and solely for profit.

Who Pays for Maternity Insurance?

Amigo MGA LLC Who Pays for Maternity Insurance-Lots of questions, controversy, and uncertainty has resulted from the Trump administration’s proposed replacement to Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act. Under President Trump’s proposed health care act, entitled the American Health Care Act, federal stipulations on funding and coverage would be rolled back, potentially reducing coverage to Americans in need and raising expenses.

GOP Congressman John Shimkus from Illinois has been a vocal advocate of the American Health Care Act. He publicly denounced Obamacare’s individual mandate, claiming it was preposterous for men to be charged for maternity and pregnancy insurance, since they can’t directly tap into the benefits of such coverage. This statement in particular has ignited a debate among legislators and their constituents about the very purpose of taxes and the logistics of health care coverage.

Maternity insurance was named as one of the ten essential areas of coverage former president Obama included in his healthcare bill in 2014. Usually, maternity or pregnancy policies will help cover or defray the costs of prenatal care, delivery, recovery, and outpatient services. These policies will often also cover counseling for lactation, postpartum depression, and other conditions that accompany childbirth. As per the ACA, insurance companies had to cover pregnancy and maternity.

Congressman Shimkus argued in March that it was silly for men to have to chip in for maternity insurance, since to his knowledge, no men had ever given birth. The video footage of his observing this before Congress went viral, with some lauding his bravery and others accusing him of undermining essential reproductive rights and coverage.

While the congressman technically correct, the function of insurance is not necessarily to cover only what one person needs. For health insurance specifically, costs per person are calculated by pooling risks and divvying up the “average” cost among everyone with a plan. In the end, everyone winds up paying for some coverage they don’t need, but by the same token, they pay less for the coverage they do need. A woman, for example, may very well take advantage of pregnancy coverage, but will likely never need to purchase viagra or be treated for prostate cancer.

Those opposed to the ACHA have called on the heartlessness of those who want to opt out of paying for insurance that will benefit the “greater good,” comparing Shimkus’ proposal to someone asking to be exempted from taxes that help build a bridge the individual will never use in their lifetime. However, as we have discussed elsewhere, insurance is, in fact, an industry. While maternity insurance does help defray the cost of hospital births, it can urge women away from seeking a more cost-effective form of prenatal care including midwives and doulas.

If the ACHA passes as it’s written, maternity insurance would no longer be covered by the vast majority of insurance providers. Most standard healthcare policies do include childbirth, but not all of them.

Pet Insurance

amigo mga pet insuranceIf you have a scaled or furry friend in your life, you may have briefly considered taking out an insurance policy to cover your pet’s potential injuries or procedures. Most people opt not to take out a health insurance policy for their pets, but you may not have considered just how valuable that insurance policy could be to saving you money, stress, and your pet’s life. If you’re even considering pet insurance, here’s some information to consider.

Firstly, talk with a trusted veterinarian. Usually, vets can give sound advice about which insurance agency will offer you the best deal to get you the most coverage for the most reasonable price. They are a non-partisan source for information, since they don’t make any money on insurance sales. The vast majority of vets will also take any insurance, so you won’t have to worry about in-network care providers the same way you have to with people insurance.

Vets are also well-versed in the different breeds of pets and the kind of care each kind of dog, cat, bird, or reptile will need. For example, pugs are highly prone to cardiovascular and pulmonary issues, so you may need extra coverage to keep your pug healthy at a reasonable cost. Consult your vet on what species or breed specific issues may need extra coverage for your pet.

Think about the cost versus benefit of the cost. On the one hand, you could be paying a decent amount of money as your monthly premium. However, consider how much the cost would be defrayed in the event of an emergency or accident. Amigo MGA has already written about high versus low deductibles for human health insurance and car insurance, and you may want to do the same calculations for your pet.

You’ll also want to do the preemptive work to keep insurance rates low. Make sure your pet stays healthy by grooming it regularly and taking it to the vet for regular check-ups or to consult if something seems “off.” Doing the leg work on the front end will keep costs low in the future, just like with human health insurance.
While still being cost-conscious, you don’t want to skimp out on protection for your family pet. In the event of an emergency or just regular health issues, you want peace of mind knowing that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg and that your pet will be happy and healthy again in no time.

Self-Driving Cars and Auto Insurance

amigo_mga_self_driving_cars_and_auto_insuranceAuto insurance agencies know a lot about traffic, how it works, what causes it, and how to best ensure drivers based on factors like age, college GPA, income, and color of the vehicle. Traffic engineers know well that no matter what they do to direct and control traffic, human error is hard to account for. For example, we have the classic dilemma of when to merge in the event of a road closure or construction. Do you merge over as soon as you see that the road is closing soon, or do you wait until your lane is cut off to merge?

In his landmark work on traffic engineering entitled, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), Tom Vanderbilt helps readers understand the nuances of what makes drivers behave the way they do and how city planners, construction crews, navigation apps, and drivers themselves try to account for this in their day-to-day lives. From an unexpected demonstration to someone distracted by a song on the radio, it’s hard to account for human error when making plans that have to do with transportation.

What if we take the human driver out of the equation, though? For the most part, auto insurance covers the damage drivers cause to their own cars and to the people, vehicles, or other property involved in the accident. It’s been demonstrated that self-driving cars are not immune from getting into accidents and causing havoc. In 2016, a self-driving Tesla car was involved in a fatal accident in Florida. Who, then, bears the responsibility?

Warren Buffett, who owns Berkshire Hathaway, which recently acquired Geico insurance, believes that the onus of protection will shift from drivers to those who manufacture and program the self-driving cars. Already the state of Michigan has passed laws that require the automakers to assume responsibility for any accident that occurred because of a self-driving car.

Since it’s common knowledge that most of the traffic issues that plague our day to day lives are the results of human error, many believe that automation will reduce the instance of accidents. However, if automakers are required to bear the responsibility for insuring these autonomous vehicles, they may experience a disincentive to produce them, since the costs would swell as the technology’s bugs get worked out. Thus, the speed of technology development would plateau and human-caused traffic accidents would continue to occur.

There are a lot more questions than answers right now regarding what will happen as cars are no longer controlled by fallible people. Insurance companies, automakers, and legislators will continue to debate where the burden belongs, but in the meantime, auto insurance will continue to cover must human error.

What you need to know about Travel Insurance

Amigo MGA | What you need to know about Travel InsuranceIf you plan on taking a trip any time soon, you likely get a pop-up at the bottom of your ticket purchase screen asking if you want to purchase insurance for your mode of travel. As spring break and summer break rapidly approach, you may be planning on taking a trip abroad, and you want to make sure you’re protected against theft, identity fraud, injury, transportation problems, and in rare but serious cases, shipping your body back to your family. Travel insurance is an important aspect of your safety overseas, but you need to know exactly what you’re paying for and what your coverage buys.

If you’re planning your trip via a travel site, whatever you do, don’t blindly agree to whatever insurance they’re offering you. A recent article detailed how many people will just accept the policy the travel agency offers, but that shopping around could provide better coverage for a better price.

Most standard life and property insurance policies don’t quite cover anything that happens while you’re away from home. Especially if you fall ill while you’re outside the US, your health insurance will be completely useless to you. Additionally, any luggage you lose in transit likely won’t fall under your standard theft insurance, so you could be naked and afraid once you land in your destination. Travel insurance isn’t required by any stretch, but it sure could make your life easier in the event of an unforeseen incident.

Firstly, of course, is the insurance that covers your transportation. In the event that your flight is cancelled or traffic makes you miss your train, you’ll want to use some of the money you spent on your ticket to purchase a new ticket. This is a decision you need to make on your own. The options listed on the transportation’s sites are usually fine, but again, you may have better options elsewhere.

You also need to take into account whether you have any preexisting medical conditions. In one infamous story, a man in the UK had a heart attack while traveling to the US, but his insurance refused to cover the medical expenses because he failed to disclose that he had experience heart failure a few years prior. Insurance is especially important if you do have any genetic conditions, medical problems, or risks of recurring issues, but by the same token, it’ll take some negotiating with your provider to ensure that all your possible issues are fully covered.

As it turns out, some credit card companies include travelers insurance in their fine print. According to a USA Today article, depending on your policy, some credit card companies will reimburse for items lost in travel, sudden flight cancellations, or trip “interruptions” like illnesses or labor strikes.

You may be tempted to rely on your credit card policy for travelers insurance to pinch pennies, it’s not a catch all, and there are some important instances that they won’t cover. As reported in ITIJ, “credit card coverage falls short in a few areas: robust trip cancellation coverage, medical and evacuation coverage, pre-existing medical conditions, card limits and covering other travelers. CSA explained that only around 15 per cent of credit cards offer travel cancellation insurance and most trip cancellation or interruption protection offered by credit cards is limited to a handful of reasons such as illness, injury or death.”

Traveling should be fun and stress-free, but to make sure that’s the case, you need to ensure that any potential problems are covered by a policy that takes care of any injuries, theft, or transportation issues that could arise.

Insurance & Your Engagement

1In the wake of Valentine’s Day, Facebook is flooded with happy couples who’ve recently become engaged and need to start making wedding plans. With that new ring, though, comes a flood of insurance questions and potential policies you need to consider. Below are a few ways you can protect yourself, your spouse-to-be, and your big day.

Ring Insurance: Many insurance agencies offer policies specific to fine jewelry, including precious metals, rare gems, antique pieces, and famous costume pieces (for example, Beyonce’s golden crown). Some will even insure “smart” jewelry. For engagement rings in particular, it’s important to find a policy that protects you from damage, theft, and loss, as all of these are common for such a small yet valuable piece of jewelry. You can often insure the ring directly from the jeweler from whom you bought it, or you can take out a policy on it separately on your own insurance plan. Especially for beach proposals, engagement rings are easily lost in the sand, in a beach towel, or to the vast ocean, so be sure to protect yourself against losing such a priceless investment.

Wedding Day Insurance: Weddings are expensive, and the last thing you want is to lose all the money you put down because of an unforeseen accident. If, for instance, there’s inclement weather, a parent suddenly becomes very sick, or the venue abruptly becomes unusable. Before purchasing insurance, check with each vendor, as caterers often have their own insurance. Depending on your policy, wedding insurance usually covers the site, the weather, vendor no-shows, sickness, and military deployment. Unfortunately, though, wedding insurance policies don’t usually cover cold feet, so if you or your betrothed have a last minute change-of-heart, you may be out of luck covering the costs of the wedding.

Auto insurance: Once you’re married, you may combine your auto insurance into one policy. For couples under the age of 30, you could receive up to a 25% discount for getting married, since it demonstrates responsibility. Check with your insurance provider about the impacts of potentially combining your policies.

Health Insurance: There are more options for how to deal with health insurance once you’re married, and there are a lot of factors to consider. You could each just keep your individual insurance policies, or one of you could join the other’s policy. This might be tedious, but you and your betrothed need to sit down and consider the details of each of your insurance policies and how adding a spouse would affect the deductibles (which I’ve written about before) and out-of-pocket costs. You also need to consider what would happen if you decide to start a family and whose insurance would handle such an addition better.
There are lots of ways to protect yourself, your stuff, and the person you love when it comes to planning for a future together. Always read the fine print when deciding on a policy, and always think long term.

Insurance and The Gig Economy

Insurance & The Gig EconomyThough the name has been hotly contested, there’s no debate that the gig economy, or the private-citizen-to-private-citizen trade of goods and services, is alive and thriving. From cars to dwellings to clothes to furniture to even friends, app developers have helped facilitate the expansion of a market that lets regular people sell or rent their stuff or labor to strangers online. On the whole, the results have been wonderful. Sellers are finding new, creative ways to bring in extra income, and buyers are happy to spend extra money for a better, more personal experience.

Some dubious scenarios surrounding accident and theft coverage for the sellers in these situations, specifically regarding who’s on the hook for costs, have arisen. One woman publicized a horror story of an AirBNB gone bad when she rented her beautiful condo and returned to find her house trashed, her stuff ransacked, and her memories scattered all over. A man who took odd jobs on Airtasker discovered while he was on a gardening job that the house where he was worked had asbestos. These incidents and more beg the question: Who’s on the hook for insurance in the gig economy?

Insurance agencies got hip to Uber quickly and discontinue the policy whenever a driver has the app open, although Uber allows a small amount of coverage while they’re on the app. AirBNB used to offer nearly no protection whatsoever, but now offers some protection from rare vandalism and theft. Airtasker offers a little insurance to its workers as well, but its policy has a lot of caveats as to which tasks it will offer worker’s compensation for; for example, the business will not offer insurance coverage to building jobs, fitness training, taxi driving, and other “risky” jobs.

The classic argument that the apps offer in court when they’re sued for insurance liability is that the people who use the app do so willingly knowing full well that the coverage is minimal. Furthermore, if a person were doing handiwork for a neighbor without the facilitation of the app, the worker would not expect any sort of compensation in the event of an accident.

Still, there’s a clear void in the market for who’s responsible for accidents that are incurred in the gig economy. Welcome Bunker, an insurance agency that handles the leg-work for freelancers, independent contractors, and other who don’t have employers to cover their risks. Put most simply, Bunker allows contractors and employers to get on the same page regarding required insurance and proof of coverage. While it doesn’t necessarily offer insurance, it does ensure that the employee is covered enough to prevent suits on either side. While the site is still rather young, it’s starting to help fill the coverage void for non-traditional workers.

As the gig economy grows and diversifies, insurance will continue to play catch-up, but if you’re participating in the gig economy either as a buyer or seller, you need to know what you’re covered for on your personal policy and the company’s policy.

High Deductible or Low Deductible?

 

When it’s time to shop for insurance, you may be tempted to pick a plan based on deductibles without knowing the full consequences of what your choice means to your future. Understanding how deductibles work will help you calculate your risk and how to optimize your insurance plan to save you money while properly covering you.

At its most basic, a deductible is the threshold amount an insured person has to pay for a service (accident repairs, an emergency room visit, etc.) before an insurance policy will step in to cover the rest. A premium, conversely, is the amount of money you pay into your insurance on a schedule (yearly, quarterly, etc.). Usually, your premium and your deductible are inversely proportional; that is, the higher your premium is, the lower your deductible is, and vice versa. A plan with low deductibles offers higher coverage, and a plan with high deductibles costs less monthly but demands more out-of-pocket money in the event of an accident.

Note that the deductible is not, in fact, the copayment, or proportion of the cost you’re responsible for. Deductibles exist to deter small claims that an individual could likely pay totally on their own in order to save the insurance company money on petty costs.

When it comes time to decide how much you want to spend on  your premium versus your deductible, there are some important factors to consider regarding your own situation, your budget, and your emergency fund.

Insurance exists to ensure that you’ll be financially stable in the event of an accident or similar tragedy, so picking an premium/deductible package based solely on saving money in the present may not be the wisest solution. Suppose someone chose an insurance plan that demanded a low monthly payment of $100, but a deductible of $3000, for example, confident that nothing bad will happen to them and they can use the extra cash that they won’t be spending monthly on insurance. Such an individual may feel good about spending so little money on a monthly basis to “be covered,” but in the event of an accident, may not have $3000 sitting around to cover costs, so the insurance policy proves completely useless to the person in peril.

Cutting premiums to save money only really works if your emergency fund is well-stocked. That is, if you can easily afford to pay a $3000 deductible in the event of a crisis, then a low premium may be just fine. Without any accidents, the math may look “better” with a low premium, but accidents are just that — unforeseen, unplanned emergencies.

The simple answer to the “high or low deductible” question lies in your ability to pay said deductible in a moment’s notice. Choosing a high deductible for the sake of cutting costs may turn around and bite you if something bad were to happen. Do your math carefully and think about your emergency readiness before you start skimping on insurance premiums.

Car Insurance Coverage Limits: How To Pick The Right One For You

Car Insurance Coverage Limits- How To Pick The Right One For You

When it comes to your car insurance policy, you have quite a few options. It can be difficult to figure out which car insurance coverage limits are right for you. There are a number of aspects that you need to take into consideration. Here are a few things you’ll need to think about when deciding on the right car insurance coverage limits:

  1. Car Payments

You may be required by your loan or leasing company to add comprehensive and collision to your policy. The only thing you’ll need to decide on is your deductible, since the limits of these coverages are equal to the value of the car. You may also want loan/lease gap coverage. If your car is totaled while your insurance settlement is less than the amount you still owe, you may have to pay down a car you can no longer drive. Gap coverage will help bridge the gap between what you still owe and the value of your car.

  1. Assets

If you’re a homeowner with a lot of financial assets, you may want to increase your liability coverage limits above the legal minimums. If you’re in an accident that you caused and your liability limits are too low to cover your expenses, the other party may go after your assets in court. The higher your limits, the more you will be able to protect your assets. If you have a high net worth, you may want to get umbrella insurance in order to protect the assets you’ve attained.

  1. Spending Money

If you set your coverage limit high and your deductible low, you’ll only have to pay a small amount out of pocket after an accident or claim. When setting your coverage limits and deductibles, figure out the amount that you can comfortably afford.

  1. Health Insurance

If your health coverage does not pay for accident-related medical expenses, you may want to add medical payments coverage to your policy. Even if your health coverage does cover these kinds of expenses, your medical payments coverage could assist you in paying the health plan’s deductible. Make sure you look into your health insurance plan before figuring out how much medical coverage to add to your policy.

  1. Driving Ability

If you’re a cautious driver who rarely gets ticketed, you might want a higher deductible and a lower rate. If you’re not a careful driver, you’ll want to consider higher limits because they provide more protection.

  1. The Car You Drive

If you have a new car, you’ll want vehicle-protecting coverages like collision and comprehensive. Collision coverage helps cover damage to your own car while comprehensive coverage protects against theft and more. Those who drive older cars may benefit less from these types of coverage since repairs after an accident might barely exceed your deductible, so you’d be shouldering most of the cost anyway.

There are many factors to consider when it comes to getting the right coverage limit on your car insurance. If you think long and hard about these aspects, you’ll be able to make the correct choice for you.

5 Ways Critical Illness Insurance Can Be a Financial Life Saver

Critical-Illness-Insurance1

Almost everyone recognizes that health insurance is an important protection against the devastating financial costs of becoming sick or injured. However, many people are unaware of how helpful critical illness insurance can be. This form of insurance gives you a lump sum if you contract an illness that is covered with your policy. If you get one of the illnesses that is specified on your policy, the extra money can be extraordinarily beneficial.

Avoid Loss of Income

Having a chronic illness can be devastating when it prevents a person from going to their job. Though some people may have disability insurance or other forms of coverage, this type of insurance is usually bound by several requirements. For example, a person with cancer may not be able to work for a few days each week, but their insurance might not provide them with anything because they can still work occasionally. There are no limits of that sort on critical illness insurance. Therefore, it will let you focus on getting well instead of worrying about being back at work or stressing about your financial state. This type of income protection will help to lower anxiety while you deal with the critical illness, and it is particularly important for self-employed people who have no chance of continuing to be paid while ill.

Cover Expenses Not Included in Health Insurance

Health insurance is great, but there are plenty of expenses associated with treating a chronic illness that cannot be covered by health insurance. People with severe illness often need to travel to consult with specialists or receive innovative treatments. Though the medical processes will be covered with insurance, plane tickets and hotel fees will have to be payed for the sick person. Other examples of illness related expenses include babysitters, who may be needed to care for the children of a sick parent, or new furniture designed to accommodate a patient on bedrest. All of these small yet necessary expenses can add up to cause financial strain if you do not have extra money from critical illness insurance.

Manage Mortgage and Car Payments

The modern family tends to have several loans that require regular payment. When you are ill, your family’s property may be put at risk due to diminished earning capability. This situation is actually one of the main issues with chronic illness that this type of insurance was designed for. It was created by a heart surgeon who wanted to save his patients from the financial stress and worry that happened after they had heart attacks and were unable to work. Many financial experts recommend that you make sure your critical illness insurance is at least enough to cover two to five years of payments for essential items.

Paying for Deductibles and Copays

Many people opt for health insurance plans with high deductibles and copays. When you are healthy, this can seem like a wise move because it lowers your monthly premium. However, it can become quite problematic when you actually get sick. Even though the health insurance will be quite beneficial, you might still end up needing to pay thousands of dollars in medical bills depending on your own unique insurance plan. It also tends to cost the insurance user more to go to out of network health care professionals, and chronic illnesses often require visits to out of network specialists or emergency trips to out of network hospitals. There are a lot of out of pocket expenses associated with the typical health care plan, and paying for all of them may be difficult or impossible. Critical illness insurance helps you to avoid diminishing your savings or going into debt because of medical bills.

Renovate a Home to Aid in Illness

When a person becomes disabled even temporarily, a typical home suddenly becomes inconvenient and potentially dangerous. Plenty of chronic illnesses, such as a stroke or multiple sclerosis, can greatly incapacitate a patient. Adding ramps, wheelchair lifts, widened doorways, and tub lifts can all be extremely pricey for the average person. However, these renovations are essential to the well being and happiness of a patient, and some families are forced to take out more loans in order to add these important additions. With the lump sum payment from a critical illness insurance policy, you can upgrade your house without having to worry about breaking your budget.